(Edited version of an earlier post)
Telling our story is important.
COME & EAT!
Part of what we’re doing with New Flavors is attempting to capture the story behind starting up a food truck business meant to support New American entrepreneurs.
Founded in a dual appreciation of journalism and the visual arts, a documentary called: Come & Eat: The Making of New Flavors hopes to bring the ups and downs of this journey to life.
New Flavors has partnered with a promising new videographer and visual artist, Anthony Kerzman. This team will spend the first year of the standing up the food truck-for hire business (starting with the fitting up of the food truck) collecting video footage of the crucial decisions, and more often than not the boring process details of board meetings, policy discussions and meetings about trailers, truck storage and winterization efforts.
We intend to tell several stories, really.
There’s a story about the Knight Cities Challenge and how it creates opportunities for Knight Foundation’s 26 cities across the nation. This is an amazing story filled with hundreds of ‘heroes’ who champion their community through innovative ideas and ultimately bring better engagement, a more informed citizenry and a more robust public life to the cities they love.
There’s a story about the team that is building the truck, building a new business and building into the fabric of Grand Forks, ND an awareness and appreciation of the richness of inclusion, of embracing new cultures and of the life-changing experience of getting new friends. It is a rag-tag team with diverse backgrounds and talents, all of which layering to form a competent and passionate approach to positively affecting the community.
Frankly, some of this was/is a lot harder than I thought. It is time and heart-consuming. It requires learning new skills and knowledge about things like mobile kitchen equipment, contracting with individuals and organizations, trouble shooting, and managing expectations of the public, team members, and yourself. It is about putting yourself into discomfort and proving you can get out. It is about learning more about yourself than anything else, and about those around you, especially your family and the unbelievable support/patience/wisdom/patience (yes, twice) of a spouse. I hope this story is told.
There’s a story about starting a business, about entrepreneurism and social innovation. We talk a lot about the importance of small business and, these days, about a supportive ‘entrepreneurial ecosystem’. But it’s a lot more real when you’re the one actually drafting the founding documents and policies, developing and watching and adjusting the day-to-day budget, learning about “cost of goods sold”, “operational overhead” and other terms necessary to keeping the doors open.
There’s the most important story of the renters. Who are the new friends who are sharing their talents, their cultures and their food with their neighbors? These people who have traversed a good part of the globe to call Grand Forks home. Where did they come from and how was their path started? Who are the family, some with them and some remaining elsewhere, for whom they worked so hard and endured so much? What are their unique passions that inspire them and shape their drive and dreams? And how are these remarkable people doing so far?
And there’s a story of impact. How is this project affecting life as we know it? What is the impact to the people of Grand Forks, the collective culture of the community and to others in cities around the country? What can be learned and what can be shared? How can the next journey be easier or more successful? Can economic opportunities be realized through small, managed steps? Do the hearts and minds of community members open and warm with personal interaction and with subtle new experiences?
We don’t know. We’re waiting for these stories to take shape and eager to watch them unfold.
We’re very confident in Tony and his ability to bring these stories to us. He’s obviously got a lot of talent, works hard and is a committed professional. This project will demonstrate all of this and his bright future. For now, there’s a teaser to the documentary. It points us in a direction – a good one, I think – and invites us into the world of a food truck, of hopeful promise and of new friends.
In the end, we have the highest of hopes this story of New Flavors will not only inspire others to engage in community building and in tactical urbanism but will prove great ideas come true with great teams, great effort and great determination. Or, the documentary will showcase a ‘just missed’ scenario and the value will be in other lessons learned.
In any case, there is a story to tell.
And telling our story is important.